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February 27, 2017

Republicans have been railing against the Affordable Care Act since before it even passed, John Oliver noted on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. But now that Republicans control Congress and the White House, they can't just gripe about ObamaCare — and in fact, "all week long, Republicans have been dealing with an unexpected problem: constituents at town halls furious that ObamaCare might be taken away."

"So tonight, let's look at ObamaCare: what it does, what needs fixing, and how Republicans plan to replace it," Oliver said, and he started off by taking everyone back to "just how bad things were before it was passed." ObamaCare fixed some of the systemic problems — getting rid of coverage denial for pre-existing conditions, allowing children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26. But even so, he said, "ObamaCare is not perfect. It had and has serious flaws," and Obama's "famously misleading" and structurally impossible claim about being able to keep your doctor has dogged the law.

On the other hand, in "something of a pattern," the GOP has "happily complained about the flaws in the law" while they "often undermined the whole thing," Oliver said. "That time is now over. It is their turn to present a plan, and the clock is ticking." The GOP's replacement plan is frustratingly elusive, but we have a sense of "what Republicans want to do" from previous plans put forward by HHS Secretary Tom Price and House Speaker Paul Ryan, "and from these talking points that Ryan gave out ahead of the congressional recess."

Oliver walked viewers through the pros and cons of talking points they'll be hearing a lot about from the GOP — "refundable tax credits," "health savings accounts," Medicaid "block grants," and "state high-risk pools" — and the one crucial term Republicans won't define: "continuous coverage incentive," or their mechanism to punish people who drop insurance coverage at any time. "Republicans are in a real bind here," Oliver said. "They need a plan, and soon. And what Price and Ryan have given them so far seems to shift costs from the government to the people, and from the healthy to the sick, and fewer people are going to be covered." Oh, and since the GOP keeps on bringing up Obama's promise about keeping your doctor, he added, "let me remind you what Donald Trump has promised that you are going to do." Watch below — there is quite a bit of NSFW language, plus an unpalatable image of a man in a thong. Peter Weber

3:14 p.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg wants the Democrats back on top.

The former New York mayor and businessman will infuse $80 million into the 2018 election, mostly helping Democratic congressional campaigns, The New York Times reports. While Bloomberg is politically independent, he has vocally opposed Republicans during the Trump presidency will likely support candidates who lean the other way.

"Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, have done little to reach across the aisle to craft bipartisan solutions — not only on guns and climate change, but also on jobs, immigration, health care, and infrastructure," Bloomberg said in a statement Wednesday. "As a result, Congress has accomplished very little."

While helping Democrats pick up 23 seats and win the majority is Bloomberg's main focus in the House, Bloomberg also explicitly said he'll support gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle. And he's only here for moderate candidates — aka, no one who wants to impeach the president, per Bloomberg's statement.

Republicans in small congressional races usually land stronger financial support than Democrats, but Bloomberg could upset that dynamic, the Times suggests. Bloomberg-funded ads could tip moderate suburban districts to the left — and tip the House as well. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:59 p.m. ET
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Attorney Michael Cohen is stepping back from politics and the current administration.

President Trump's former fixer stepped down from his position as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee's Finance Committee, ABC News reported Wednesday.

In a rare move, Cohen diverged from Trump in the announcement, condemning his former boss' policies that have been separating immigrant families at the border. "As the son of a Polish Holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy [are] heart-wrenching," Cohen wrote. "While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips."

Cohen is entangled in the ongoing investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that is probing the Trump campaign's role in Russia's meddling in the presidential election. He said that his legal troubles were one reason he decided to leave his role at the RNC, which he had held since April 2017. "This important role requires the full-time attention and dedication of each member," wrote Cohen. "Given the ongoing Mueller and [Southern District of New York] investigations, that simply is impossible for me to do." Read more at ABC News. Summer Meza

2:44 p.m. ET
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In West Virginia's 3rd District, which President Trump won by 49.3 points in the 2016 election, Democratic candidate Richard Ojeda holds a sliver of a lead over Republican Carol Miller, the latest Monmouth University poll, released Wednesday, found. Forty-three percent of voters said they were with Ojeda, while Miller held onto 41 percent.

Curiously, Trump is still popular in the district: He has a 66 percent approval rating, with 49 percent of voters strongly approving of him. "Unlike other hotly contested House races in the country where dislike of the president is giving Democrats a boost, this West Virginia district seems to be competitive because the Democratic candidate has his own populist persona," observed the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, Patrick Murray. Despite running as a Democrat, Ojeda has said he voted for Trump in 2016.

David Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report responded to the poll by tweeting that he will be moving the district from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican." The poll reached 428 voters in West Virginia's 3rd District between June 14 and 19, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent for the full sample. Read the full results here, Jeva Lange

2:17 p.m. ET

President Trump has continually emphasized that he was powerless to end his administration's policy of separating immigrant families at the border, blaming Democrats for laws that required the practice even though the separations began after Trump began his "zero tolerance" immigration policy last month and no law exists that mandates parents be separated from their children.

Now, Trump is reportedly poised to sign an executive order that would halt the separations. Many of his critics, Democrats and Republicans alike, have been pointing out that Trump could have reversed his own policy any time, or that he could have told Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to stop the practice. An executive order would cast doubt on all his previous statements when he claimed that only Congress could pass legislation to fix the problem, The Washington Post reports.

Watch some of the instances when Trump and Nielsen claimed their hands were tied below, via The Washington Post. Summer Meza

2:10 p.m. ET
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The San Francisco Police Department has identified a suspect in the murder of at least five gay men in the late 1970s, CNN reports. The killer, who was known as "the Doodler" because he would sketch strangers in bars, could have killed as many as 14 different people. "I'm looking at five murders," said Inspector Dan Cunningham. "But I'd be a fool to say he didn't do more."

While police repeatedly questioned one man in connection to the murders in the 1970s, they never caught the Doodler — who would leave bars with the men he sketched, then stab his victims to death. A drawing of the Doodler was released in 1975 based on three men who were assaulted by a person that detectives at the time believed was their killer. "We have a suspect in the assault that spawned the sketch," explained Cunningham.

After the recent arrest of the suspected Golden State Killer, investigators are hoping they might be able to get usable DNA samples from blood samples taken at two Doodler crime scenes as well. The Doodler today would be in his early 60s, if he is still alive; the police have updated their sketch of him to look as he would now. Jeva Lange

1:54 p.m. ET
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Some migrant children separated from their parents at the border are barely children at all. They're babies.

Infants as young as 3 months old have ended up in Michigan after their parents are detained far away, the Detroit Free Press reports. They arrive on planes in the middle of the night, often with no idea where they're headed, and are placed in foster homes, says a foster care supervisor.

That's a far cry from the account of a Homeland Security official, who told BuzzFeed News on Friday that "we do not separate babies from adults." Yet the next day, an 8-month-old and an 11-year-old arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after weeks away from their parents, per the Free Press. They're among 50 immigrant children — average age: 8 years old — who have landed in Michigan instead of "tender age" detention facilities near the border.

Michigan foster parents are used to taking in unaccompanied migrant children. But the migrants are usually old enough to cross the border alone and know how to find their families already here, New York Times immigration reporter Miriam Jordan said on The Daily podcast Wednesday.

Children arriving in Michigan today are only getting younger, the foster care supervisor told the Free Press. They now come to the U.S. with family, but are torn away when their parents are detained, and they may go a month without even reaching their parents on the phone. Read more at the Detroit Free Press. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:48 p.m. ET

Michael B. Jordan fans, rejoice: The first trailer for Creed II is here.

The clip, which dropped Wednesday, takes everything to the next level: The stakes are higher, the foe more menacing. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone shine as they reprise their roles of Adonis Creed and Rocky Balboa, respectively, in the sequel to 2015's Creed.

The trailer begins as Jordan's Creed finds himself struggling to keep his father's legacy alive as he continues to build his own, and ultimately builds to a pivotal reveal: Viktor Drago — the son of Ivan Drago, whose infamous punch killed Creed's father Apollo in Rocky IV — steps up to challenge Creed.

Creed earned more than $170 million worldwide and earned Stallone a 2016 Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Stallone wrote the screenplay for Creed II himself, and Steven Caple Jr. has signed on to direct. The film will reunite Jordan with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, who is an executive producer on the film.

Creed II is set to hit theaters Nov. 21. Watch the full trailer below. Amari Pollard

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